Arrambam(2013):Too Simple Baby

Arrambam(2013):Too Simple Baby

Language : Tamil | Running Time : 157 Minutes | Director : Vishnuvardhan

What’s Diwali without a movie involving a big star releasing in India? In Tamil cinema, we have the big Diwali release, Arrambam, starring Ajith KumarAryaNayantara and a few other big names. One of the scenes in the movie has Ajith Kumar riding a Ducati, make and model beyond my limited knowledge. It is a scene which incurs the most whistles and claps in the theater. It is their star’s vehicle. In another scene, Ajith is steering a speedboat. In another he is driving a car. These are two other scenes where there are whistles and the ultimate cry “Thalaaaaa”. If they’d given him an aeroplane and a train to drive, we might have had few more such Thalaa moments to take back home. When sitting in a theater full of people who love the star and are here to watch him look suave, cool, stylish, kill baddies and preach to the society, it is hard pressed not to be carried away. I was carried away for a few minutes, when Ajith enters the scene making his tick-tock, tick-tock sound. Director Vishnuvardhan’s latest film Arrambam is a Ajith vehicle and like his star keeps telling in style “Make it simple”, the director and his screenwriters the famed duo Subha, have taken the dialogue to heart and have truly kept the movie simple.

The movie opens in Mumbai, again Mumbai. A new fad has emerged in Tamil cinema where we have movies being filmed in Mumbai. Arrambam joins the list as well. In Mumbai, we are privy to a series of bomb blasts. Ajith enters stylishly and before we know it, the title track of the movie is forced on us. The makers probably didn’t know where else to fit the song, so they probably had a discussion somewhere during editing and decided, doesn’t fit anywhere, let’s make it Thala’s second entry into the movie. I have nothing against songs in Indian films but forcing a song to cater to mass appeal doesn’t make sense to me, especially when the actor in question is not a great dancer. Ajith has other qualities where he is much better and they could have made use of it to give him more appeal instead of a song that doesn’t fit in. Sometime, as we get back to the story, we have Arjun(Arya) being roped in, albeit unwillingly and later willingly(ooh there, spoiler-ish if it is your first movie) to help Ajith in his activities.

Arrambam Ajith with AryaArjun is apparently a genius with computers who refused job offers from Australia, the U.S and other exotic places because he fell in love with Anitha(Taapsee Pannu), a character who is more irritating that the sound of crackers waking you up at 2 a.m. In the name of humor, we have a college story about Arya, Anitha and Maya(Nayantara). When you see the college portions and the character of Anitha during other portions of the movie, you wonder why anyone in his right mind would fall in love with her except for her good looks. The whole cutesy thing falls flat and I wonder if journalists can afford to be as stupid and dumb as Anitha is. If a man isn’t going to go abroad to work but stay behind for a girl, one could at least write the character to be worth the stay.

The first half revolves around little activities that lead to a flashback which takes center stage during the second half. The first half in intended to be fun and breezy with enough dosage of action to keep the Ajith fans happy and everyone is kept waiting for a “twist”. The second half is a revenge drama where Rana Daggubati as Sanjay, Maya’s brother and Ashok’s(Ajith) best friend, gets to show some range. Sanjay is killed when fighting terrorists and this arc then ends up becoming a lesson in half headed brashness in the climax. The movie believes that the back story will make the story seem up to date and not the “same old thing” by having a series of scams as focus to the injustice. This in turn becomes  story of vigilante justice and a moral science class with largely inept intelligence. Is it really the answer to our problems, I asked myself and I was disappointed that the makers didn’t have more sense than reverting to plain clothes vigilante movement and a moral lesson.

The second half stirs up action and Akshara Gowda playing Deeksha Rane, daughter of Mahadev Rane, a brilliant Mahesh Manjrekar, amps up the glamour quotient, which is already at a pretty high level thanks to Nayantara. Nayantara isn’t just eye candy and has enough scope to perform and she doesn’t miss the cue. Atul Kulkarni and Suman Ranganthan return to Tamil cinema and they are dependable as ever but with the little they have to do, you can’t expect anything more. Ajith and Arya complement each other very well throughout the movie and as it is a Ajith vehicle, he certainly shines brighter as the film ends. Kishore plays a pivotal role as an honest cop and he pulls off another excellent performance. He can speak a lot with his body language and he shows that skill yet again.

Arrambam-Ajith and NayantaraThe movie would have worked better had it done more with the second half than it ended up being, The first half is fun without much intelligence but it does offer some relief. The second half is the same old revenge action thriller with a lot of Ajith in it, Ajit shooting people, Ajith driving a car, steering a speedboat, riding a Ducati and looking all too suave and comfortable. For Ajith fans, the movie will work. It is not a bad movie. It certainly has some stylishly shot sequences and well done action choreography but in the end it is all too simple. They certainly have taken that dialogue to heart when they made the movie. I think that one of the reasons I failed to like the movie much is because I always had it in my head that Ajith couldn’t be a villain in this film. It was there in my head right from the start because Vishnuvardhan does very little to make us feel any different with the script he has. Even when an iron box is held close to a baby, we feel very little dread and hardly any dislike towards Ajith’s character. We know that nothing will happen. Too many movies of the same kind have certainly made us ready to see through such tropes and never for a moment do we believe that Ashok could be anything but a good man seeking justice.

The end credits start with the card that alludes to this being the first part or the beginning of something new. I,for one, hope there is no second vehicle here because the first one isn’t great by any means. It is bound to bring some cheer to Ajith fans because their Thala is back again doing what they like him doing. Even they are bound to be irritated with some of the things they see here. It is no Mankatha or Billa, it is just another genre killer in the name of a commercial mass action thriller.

By: Hithesh Devasya
Posted: November 1, 2013, 2:37 pm


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